Newbie seeks gear advice. Is Hi Viz worth it? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-01-2012, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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Newbie seeks gear advice. Is Hi Viz worth it?

I'm thinking of getting some Hi Viz gear. First, as my earlier introduction thread stated. I'm new to motorcycling and do not currently own a bike yet. But I do want to get my gear ready for my bike purchase. I'm looking at getting a jacket, pants, boots, gloves and helmet.

A major consideration for me is the weather where I live. I'm in Mobile, Alabama, which if you're not familiar, is the extreme southern part of Alabama on the Gulf coast. We deal with near 100 percent humidity most of the year. Summer temps can hit as high as 100 degrees or a little more with heat index. Winter temps are usually no lower than the 30s. It may dip into the 20s a couple of times per year, but I'm not going to be commuting on my bike and can easily just not ride on the coldest days if I want. It does rain during a good bit here in Mobile. So waterproofing is needed.

Ok, as far as the Hi Viz stuff goes. I'm considering at the Joe Rocket Alter Ego 3.0 Jacket. It seems to really fit most of my needs. My question is; Is the Hi Viz yellow color that much more visible than the Red/Black color combo. I can get a Hi-viz yellow jacket and helmet. Ultimately I want to be as visible as possible. But if the Red is just as visible I'd choose it. (Roll Tide!).

I'll include a link below. Please help with your opinions.

http://www.motorcyclegear.com/street...le_jacket.html


The other gear I'm looking at is:

Joe Rocket Alter Ego 2.0 Pants

http://www.motorcyclegear.com/street...overpants.html

Icon Reign Waterproof Boots

http://www.motorcyclegear.com/street...oof_boots.html

Joe Rocket Phoenix 4.0 Gloves

http://www.motorcyclegear.com/street...le_gloves.html

HJC Sy-Max III Helmet

http://www.motorcyclegear.com/street...ii_helmet.html

I am open to suggestions for other options I should be looking at. There's not much to choose from locally. The local bike shops only have a couple of icon jackets and literally one boot to choose from. And only HJC Helmets. So I have at least had the opportunity to try the HJC modular helmet on at the local shop.

Thanks in advance for your replies.
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 03:09 AM
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Too funny. I blogged on that some of that exact gear a few weeks ago. Jacket and pants.

The Alter ego jacket is really good in hot weather. The pants may not be perfect for your climate, and I would consider looking at an all mesh pant like the Joe Rocket Cleo or similar from other brands. I don't think the Cleo is rainproof so you would need to find a waterproof over pant to use with it on the rain days.

Personally I prefer the high vis gear. Riding is risky more than anything else because of the cagers we share the road with. If high visibility gear mitigates that risk so that I can ride with a greater level of safety then I believe it is a worthwhile investment. I ride with the yellow jacket but then again fashion isn't my biggest concern when riding.

Good for you for finding good gear before getting the bike. When it comes time to find a good helmet don't rush and be sure to give yourself at least 10-15 minutes with the helmet on in the store. Helmet fitting is very important and since you are new to riding, try to find a good retail store with knowledgeable and patient staff as fit here is critical for getting the gear to work for you properly. I've tried a number of helmets on that initially felt fine but after 15 minutes hurt like hell. Make sure to learn the difference between, DOT, Snell and ECE ratings. There are enough articles out there on the topic to keep you reading all night. Best of luck


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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 03:39 AM
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 08:04 AM
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I'm a believer that Hi-Viz is the best - perhaps only - choice if you want to improve the chances of being seen by drivers who don't appear to be able to "see" anything other than four wheel vehicles.

Red or yellow seems the best to me (orange is great too but you risk looking like a popsicle). Fire/rescue trucks, after all, are either red or yellow and they sand out pretty well.

Some years ago the USAF changed the color of its crash/rescue vehicles from red to yellow in the belief that it improved visibility. Don't know if made a significant difference, but they certainly can be seen. And though you won't have sirens to help you, the color does seem to stand out in a sea of grey, silver, and white vehicles, which seem to be the most popular car/SUV colors these days.

We're also fans of Joe Rocket products and have several mesh jackets that serve us well during the dog days of a Texas spring/summer/fall - bright colors and decent ventilation. Haven't found a pair of riding pants I'm in love with yet but am still looking.

Although it didn't happen intentionally, all our vehicles are bright red and they do really stand out in that sea of sliver/grey/white. Makes it tough to sneak up on anything, but that's another problem.

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 08:38 AM
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You can add a hi-vis safety vest to any outfit to increase visibility... cheap option if you don't want to by a jacket in that color. Helmet is probably the biggest difference maker, IMHO.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 08:50 AM
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Take a look at the Joe Rocket Phoenix 5.0 jacket. I just got one of those and it is perfect for riding up here in Columbus, MS. It's extremely well ventilated and you can get it in a hi-vis option. None of my actual clothing is reflective, but I do wear a very reflective construction vest every time I ride (Air Force also requires it, but I wear it while leisure riding as well). I have noticed a difference in how people react around me while wearing it, most notably around intersections. A lot of hardened riders will scoff at the bright yellow gear, saying it does nothing and that if someone's gonna hit you, they're gonna hit you. For me, if it even saves my butt one time that I don't know about, it's worth the $10 I paid and 10 seconds it takes to put on.

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 12:10 PM
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Hi vis gear has statistically been proven to lessen getting smucked by a car by somewhere around 20-30 percent depending on study. Mesh is ideal for the heat. Leather/mesh combo gear offer the best abrasion resistance. Cordura is a close second due to greater abrasion resistance than polyester. IMO look for a mesh jacket with a breathable (Gortex type material) wind/rain liner liner and perhaps secondary insulated liner for winter. Better quality gear will also fit better and have better fitting armor. It will also be more comfortable and versatile in the temperature extremes if it has separate breathable wind/rain liner and insulated liner.

My regret when I first started riding is not spending slightly more on my jacket and pants. I initially bough the alter ego and later upgraded to Olympia mesh. While JR and other cheaper brands are not bad they make some sacrifices in protection (abrasion resistance), comfort and durability. In particular the mesh is polyester and does not offer much abrasion protection and the zipper break after a while. Tourmaster is similar in quality to JR.



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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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I was also looking at the Olympia Switchback. Is the quality of this jacket superior to the JR jacket? The price is similar. The switchback is also available in HI-Viz yellow, though I do like the idea of just adding a vest and replacing the vest when the color fades.



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Hi vis gear has statistically been proven to lessen getting smucked by a car by somewhere around 20-30 percent depending on study. Mesh is ideal for the heat. Leather/mesh combo gear offer the best abrasion resistance. Cordura is a close second due to greater abrasion resistance than polyester. IMO look for a mesh jacket with a breathable (Gortex type material) wind/rain liner liner and perhaps secondary insulated liner for winter. Better quality gear will also fit better and have better fitting armor. It will also be more comfortable and versatile in the temperature extremes if it has separate breathable wind/rain liner and insulated liner.

My regret when I first started riding is not spending slightly more on my jacket and pants. I initially bough the alter ego and later upgraded to Olympia mesh. While JR and other cheaper brands are not bad they make some sacrifices in protection (abrasion resistance), comfort and durability. In particular the mesh is polyester and does not offer much abrasion protection and the zipper break after a while. Tourmaster is similar in quality to JR.


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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Versystole View Post
You can add a hi-vis safety vest to any outfit to increase visibility... cheap option if you don't want to by a jacket in that color. Helmet is probably the biggest difference maker, IMHO.
I bought, and use, mesh safety vests I got from Cycle Gear for about $25 each. Over a mesh jacket I feel lots of wind, plus they have BIG reflective panels front and rear!

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...None of my actual clothing is reflective, but I do wear a very reflective construction vest every time I ride (Air Force also requires it, but I wear it while leisure riding as well). I have noticed a difference in how people react around me while wearing it, most notably around intersections. A lot of hardened riders will scoff at the bright yellow gear, saying it does nothing and that if someone's gonna hit you, they're gonna hit you. For me, if it even saves my butt one time that I don't know about, it's worth the $10 I paid and 10 seconds it takes to put on.
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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 04:10 PM
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My question is; Is the Hi Viz yellow color that much more visible than the Red/Black color combo. [/URL]
Which jacket shows up better?
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 04:31 PM
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I was also looking at the Olympia Switchback. Is the quality of this jacket superior to the JR jacket? The price is similar. The switchback is also available in HI-Viz yellow, though I do like the idea of just adding a vest and replacing the vest when the color fades.
Olympia is better quality (they use Cordura vs Polyester, YKK zippers, etc.) than Tourmaster, JR, Shift, etc. but usually a little more pricy for a compatible category of product. The Swichback is the shell of the AirGlide jacket but without the removable liners the Airglide includes. You need a wind/rain liner to be comfortable below 70F and an insulated liner to be comfortable below 65-60F due to the effect of wind chill. 60mph of wind over your body grossly magnifies the cooling effect and heat loss.

I would not recommend a Hi Vis vest as they block the cooling wind flow when worn over a jacket in hot weather, even when they are mesh. Better quality Hi Vis does not fade. Dark colors absorb heat. Look for pants with hip armor as well as knee armor. One issue with over pants is they don't work well in the heat. Any extra layer is going to make you warmer. Mesh pants are as cool as shorts when worn over just skives and a lot more protective. Mesh pants with zip in liners can be used all year around.

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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 05:27 PM
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I own the Olympia hi rez. I have 2 zip out layers, it is an awesome jacket. While riding to work the other day a friend of mine spotted me in 4 lane traffic about 1/2 mile away. It is a good thing to be seen.
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 09:13 PM
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Also take a look at Sliders brand gear with Kevlar in the abrasion locations.

My opinion concerning Hi-Vis gear. Attentive drivers will see you better. In-attentive drivers will look right through you. In-attentive drivers cut off ambulances, fire trucks, etc. Just because you are wearing Hi-Viz gear don't assume you are visible. You still need to ride like you are invisible. You have to be willing to give up your right of way at a moments notice and you have to keep yourself out of the danger zone.

Sometimes I wear Hi-Vis, sometimes I don't. I have not noticed any difference in the drivers around me, but have noticed a difference with law enforcement. Especially if I am near a military base where the riders are required to wear Hi-Vis. Law enforcement tends to cut a break to riders in Hi-vis who might be exceeding the limit a little.

I will wear Hi-vis when riding in the rain, and when I know I am going to be in a traffic prone area. I think a Hi Vis jacket or Vest with the word "Police" written across the back really makes people notice you.

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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-02-2012, 10:10 PM
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Any high contrast color will help. I personally dislike hi viz, and I've seen that it fades rather quickly. Most important item is the helmet. Make sure it is a high contrast color. It is the most prominent part of your body and the one that is at or above other drivers eye level. Alabama, you sure want to go with mesh. Contrary to many on this site I believe it hs the the best bang for the buck. Everyone argues about abrasion resistant materials and what not but still you want gear that is comfortable and fits right. The better it fits and feel the less tempted you are to go out without it. You prbably want gear that you can use in three seasons. There are mesh jackets that have multiple liners. I use a Tourmaster Intake II mesh jacket. It has a weather proof liner and an insulated liner that makes it into a three season jacket. I also got a Tourmaster Saber III for the times it gets cold, It happens here in Colorado. I also have two pants. A tourmaster overpant and a mesh touring patn again from tourmaster. For me it's a metter of fit. Most other brands are just too tall for me.

Im in my second HJC Symax. I had a Symax II and upgraded recently to a Symax III. The Symax III is a great value. Not as fancy or well finished than other brands but between 50% to 100% cheaper its a heck of a bargain. One thing to consider since you are in a very hot and humid climate. I believe there are other helmets with better ventilation than the Symax III. After fit that might be an important item for you to check.

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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 12:37 AM
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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 07:49 AM
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Good one Weljo!

Another advantage of Hi-Vis is when you or your surviving family members are sueing the person who took you out, it is harder for them to use the excuse, "I never saw him your honor". Especially when you display the remnants of your riding gear under the flouresent lights in the court room

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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-03-2012, 07:54 PM
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I ride daily to work on the mean streets of Manhattan. It was entirely common for me to be wildly cut-off by cabs and other cagers. My most recent purchase was a Hit-Air vest in HiViz Green. Airbags aside for the sake of the post-I feel considerably safer when I'm riding with it on, as I've seen a steep drop-off in the number of cutter offers since I started wearing it. If it works here...


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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 01:52 AM
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Get HiViz. Some blind/drunk/medicated people might still overlook you, but not the average-ly cager. I was going to write "get Hiviz when riding in cities", but come to think about it, I can't think of any kind of road where it would not help.

I wear a regular cheap Hiviz vest over my gear, which is bit annoying, but easily replaceable.

Also, I prefer textile clothes with leather on elbows/shoulders/knees/hips. Sadly, those are available in Hiviz anywhere yet. Please correct me I you find sth like this.

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post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the info and opinions guys. At this point I can't see where it would hurt. I'm still looking at brands and models of jackets and pants. Helmets too, so if there's any in particular you all would recommend, lay em on me.

It's a bit unnerving to see the amount of people around here riding with absolutely no gear on whatsoever. I mean it's unusual to see someone with even a jacket on. It seems to be all t-shirts, shorts and flip flops.
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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 09-14-2012, 09:53 AM
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It's a bit unnerving to see the amount of people around here riding with absolutely no gear on whatsoever. I mean it's unusual to see someone with even a jacket on. It seems to be all t-shirts, shorts and flip flops.
Those are the people that emergancy room staff members call GPOs - "Good For Parts Only."

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